Tag Archives: shopsmith

Making a pie-bird rack

Caroline has a nice collection of pie birds. For our anniversary I made her a pie bird holder to show them off.

This board was cut from a walnut branch with a chainsaw and had been drying in my garage for several years.

I used a hand plane to do get it flat, and then the ShopSmith belt sander to get it smooth.

I drilled holes and inserted short dowels for the pie birds to sit on.

For the words, I found a font I liked and used Inkscape to layout the words as a mirror image. I printed them on our laser printer, then used a hot iron to transfer the mirrored image to the wood.

With the mirrored letters on the wood I used a wood burner to (very slowly…) burn over the letters to make it nice and solid black.

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For finishing I used about 10 coats of shellac. It dried quickly and made it nice and shiny.

To hang it I secured some blocks to the back with glue and screws, and attached D-rings to those blocks. I used washers and long screws to secure it to the wall, so that it can’t fall off without unscrewing the screws.

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ShopSmith Drive and Ring Replacement

I’ve been having some ShopSmith problems. It was juddering and making clacking noises at high speeds when I’d apply any pressure to the disc sander or table saw or lathe.

I thought I might just have a loose Poly V belt so I took off the cover and tightened it and started lubing up everything with 3-in-1 oil since I was in there anyways…and then I saw it.






The plastic coupler that goes between the drive sheaves axle and the quill was cracked. I’m not sure how it happened, maybe it was because I used the SS when it was cold out last Winter and it’s just been cracked since then, or maybe it was during a catch while turning something. In any case it was obvious that this was my problem.

Fortunately this was one of the pieces of which I had a spare on hand. At first I thought that I’d need to do a complete tear down, which you have to do to get the Poly V belt out. Then I realized that I could just remove the quill, saving myself something like 4 hours.

I loosened the set screw on the top, extended the quill as far it could go, and then pulled it out by hand. The only trick when doing this is to control the springback of the quill retractor springs.


With the quill removed I was able to use a long screwdriver and some patients to pry the broken plastic coupler off and replace it. The ShopSmith is now running much smoother, even at low speeds.

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Oak and Maple Salt Shakers

I made a set of salt and pepper shakers for our kitchen.

I started by cutting squares of maple and oak and gluing them together.  I glued up a single stack with the salt and pepper shakers all together. One they were dried I then turned them on the lathe to get them round.

I had some end grain tear out so I sanded it starting with 80 grit and went up to 1200.



I used the miter box to cut the two shakers apart.


Then I used the belt sander to flatten the top and bottoms and to make both shakers the same height.


I then used the drill press to drill out the hole for the salt and pepper.


I used a spade bit for the initial hole and then used a forstner bit to create a recess for the top of the cork.


I also used the drill press to drill a P and S on the tops. Sophie asked who the S one was for and was disappointed that it wasn’t hers and that I wasn’t going to make her one.


The pepper shaker is oak with a single maple band, and is a bit darker than the salt shaker which is maple with a single oak band.

I finished the outsides with a couple of light coats with Watco Danish Oil. The insides are unfinished.


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